Give Us Your Twitter Tips!

Twitter tips We’re holding another one of our “roundup” posts where we ask for your tips and advice. This one will be about using Twitter in your business.

We invite you to submit a tip.  Then we’ll include it in our roundup of “Tips from the Trenches: How Small Businesses Get the Most from Twitter.”

It’s excellent marketing exposure for you.  It’s also a wonderful way to learn from others.

To participate, all you need to do is answer one of the following questions:

  • Getting Started: How would you suggest other small businesses get started on Twitter?
  • Smart Marketing: What’s the right way (or wrong way) to promote your business on Twitter?
  • Observing Etiquette: What is your #1 Twitter etiquette tip for small business owners?
  • Spreading Your Message: What is your best tip for getting re-tweeted?
  • Time Management: How do you manage your time on Twitter?
  • Advanced Strategies: What is your best kept secret (something not widely known) for using Twitter in business?

Just pick one of the above questions, and answer it.

How do you participate?  Just get your tip to us using one of the following methods:

Leave a comment below with your tip.

Or, email it to me: anita@anitacampbell.com.  Or, tweet it to me: @smallbiztrends.

Or participate in our tweetchat session on Wednesday evening, May 13, 2009, from 8:00 – 9:30 PM Eastern time (New York time) and share your tip then.  To participate in the tweetchat, just log on to Twitter at the appointed time and search for the hashtag #BIZTWIT to follow the tweetchat.  Or go to http://tweetchat.com, log in, and go to the chat room for #BIZTWIT.

It does not matter how you get the tip to us — just send it!  We want to hear from you.  Then, later on, once we have all the tips, we’ll compile them into an easy-to-scan post and a downloadable document you can share.  Please join in — I hope to see YOUR tip.  Deadline for submitting a tip is May 23, 2009.  {Deadline extended.]

UPDATE:  To sweeten things up, I am giving away a beautiful new HP netbook computer to one lucky person who submits a tip.  We’ll enter everyone’s name and randomly draw one person to receive a new HP 1116NR netbook computer.  As you may know, I love my little netbook and even wrote about it (which the Best Buy site picked up and republished over there!).  The model I am giving away — the 1116NR — is different from the one I own.  The HP 1116NR is a newer model.  It has a 8.9 inch screen with 1 GB of memory, 16 GB hard drive, built-in webcam, valued at around $300.  Netbooks are fabulous for traveling and using at the local coffeeshop.  So be sure to leave a tip and be entered in our drawing to win this wonderful little workhorse.  Giveaway is limited to U.S. residents.

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Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

110 Reactions

  1. Thanks for doing this Anita!
    One of the approaches I’ve found effective, in finding a valuable blog post referenced on Twitter, leave a comment on the post itself, and then retweet it. This further endears you to the author, while making a more meaningful connection with your followers.

  2. Sigh. Just ONE? C’mon Anita!

    I’ll take “Getting Started” with respect to a small business owner looking to build an audience of new customers…

    When I get a new follower, I check their profile and decide within a couple seconds if I’m going to follow them back. In other words, first impressions are critical. Do NOT go on a follow spree until you set a profile pic and bio. You should have also sent out some tweets (that are preferably not relentless promotion of your business). I suggest lurking on the service for a minimum of a week.

    A lot of this is covered in my wildly popular, multi-award winning ebook on Twitter Success: http://bakersdog.com/ebook

    ;o)

  3. Hey Anita…. Great twitter tip..

    The right way to promote your business on twitter is to participate! Talk about what you’re doing… new happenings at your business…mention your clients and people you are collaborating with… pay attention to your followers and what they are doing and engage in conversation with them.

    The wrong way — talk about yourself and only yourself. People don’t want to be spammed about all things you. It’s true, people don’t care about what you know until they know that you care.. so stop posting about only your business…Constantly tweeting the same exact phrase like “John Doe Event Venue is a great place for weddings” will get you no where.

    That’s my two cents! :-)

  4. Many small businesses rely on local customers, so it’s imperative that they find and connect with local Twitter users. You can use these sites to do that:

    Twitter Advanced Search
    http://search.twitter.com/advanced

    ChirpCity
    http://chirpcity.com/

    Nearby Tweets
    http://nearbytweets.com/

    Tweepz
    http://tweepz.com/

    Bonus tip: Since you’re essentially trying to connect with complete strangers, before I go out and randomly follow local people, I make sure my most recent tweet says something like “I’m gonna look for other Tri-Cities folks to follow on Twitter.” That way, when they get followed by me and check out my profile, the message explains to them why a total stranger is suddenly following them.

    And then as you build up your base of local connections, everyone else’s tips about adding value and being a good listener on Twitter come into play.

  5. I’ll take Smart Marketing. Always keep up with your business branding! This means creating a custom Twitter background that shows your brand. You can get tips and a free template in a recent blog article that I wrote “Brand Recognition: Creating a Custom Twitter Background”
    http://tiny.cc/NGWJA

  6. One of the advanced tactics I use is to keep a search column open in Tweetdeck (or you could use Twitter Search) for a term that is related to my work. For instance, I have a column for the search phrase “wordpress help”. This lets me see tweets from people who are looking for help with WordPress, and if I can help them, I send them a quick answer.

    This is a good way to be helpful, get new business, and/or meet some great people with similar interests (ie. build your business network).

    It may take a couple of tries to find the right term to search for your business, but when you do you will have access to a continuous stream of people that will be interested in what you have to say or who will need your help.

  7. Etiquette: Automated DMs aren’t worth sending. If you won’t invest a few seconds to compose a 140-character message I don’t want to invest 5 seconds reading it.

    @robert_brady

  8. Lately, I have been using Twitter a couple of time as a carbon copy (CC:) feature in order to inform fellow bloggers about something interesting, e.g. a link to a blog post by a small business blogger, an business article, etc. by writing a tweet message including a handle (@username) so this person could search on it later on. Twitter has changed the label “replies” and it is now your handle (in my case @lyceum) instead under the “replies” category. The folks at Twitter have seen that the usage of the @ “reply” feature has changed over time.

    Here is one example:
    @danschawbel This sounds like an interesting event. CC: @smallbiztrends re. list project. 11:01 PM May 7th from web in reply to danschawbel

    My time management tip is to create your own hashtag meme or start following an existing one. I started out with the intention to write three #GoodThing tweets every day. I don’t want it to become a duty to write three #GoodThing tweets every day, but it is still a good reminder for me to focus on the positive things during the day and report this as it fits my time schedule. I often send out this tips to new followers as a direct message so they will get a feel of my attitude toward Twitter and how you could use it. If you are interested in this issue, please read my post, Three Good Things On Twitter. (Click on “Martin Lindeskog” Says:)

    As an extra bonus, read “Twitter Bible: Everything You Need To Know About Twitter” on CIO.com.

    RT @Svartling Twitter Bible: Everything You Need To Know About Twitter http://bit.ly/11BYUS Great post (3 pages) #svpt

    (I had to look up what the hashtag #svpt meant. It is short for “SVenskar På Twitter” (“Swedes On Twitter” in Swedish”). Do you know about a good hashtag resource list?

  9. Two tips for someone just getting started:
    1) Find and follow both people you know personally and professionally, and the influencers in your space.
    2) Mind your stream! When you first start using Twitter and start to follow more and more people, you’ll notice your stream fill quickly. Use Twitter search to follow your own company/name mentions, and leverage tools (Tweet Deck is great) to help you filter out the noise and focus on the most relevant users.

    Tom Demers

  10. I’ll take time management: When first starting limit your twitter time. I did not do this and quickly found myself spending way too much time on twitter.

    There are so many interesting things to read and people to follow, I was wasting a lot time (but having fun).

    I now limit my twitter time to 10 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes mid-day and 10 minutes at the end of the day.

    I’m not rigid about this and make exceptions depending on what is going on. But by staying focused on what is important to me and business, my twitter ROI has gone up substantially.

  11. “How would you suggest other small businesses get started on Twitter?”

    Use linked in contacts or your business card collection to look up and follow people in your field: vendors, peers, and, importantly, competitors. Then, browse through who they are tweeting with and add those people. Join the conversations and tweet questions of your own.

    @bayinghound

  12. Mine is a tool — TwitterBar. It allows you to tweet from the address bar in your browser. Type in your 140 characters like you’re typing a website URL/address and then click on the little “t” for Twitter and it goes to your account. No need to open another application, or use your phone.

    If that isn’t enough of a tool, I like Ping.fm which lets you submit your updates and info to almost all of your services from one website. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace — all from one location.
    @TJMcCue

  13. When you’re participating in a tweet chat. Don’t forget that your tweets are being seen by EVERYONE. To avoid “spamming” do your best to compose tweets as complete thoughts. If you’re answering a question, reference at least part of the question in the answer so that people NOT participating in the tweet chat can benefit from your thought.

    Example:
    DIYMarketers: I’ve not had good experience taking registration online and handing out confirmations to third-party conference with instructions #DIYMKT

  14. Ivana,

    Thanks for this thoughtful tip! I will try to write tweet messages in a comprehensive way during the chat.

  15. Great idea! Already picked up some good ones from the comments.

    We’ve seen that a lot of people find it difficult to know what to tweet – especially when it comes to interesting, relevant content and links. What we do is have someone set up with a Google Reader account that subscribes to 10 to 20 blogs that we know have consistently interesting content like Smallbiztrends or Copyblogger, then we use a tweet scheduler like Tweetlater to schedule 5 or 6 tweets a day, spread throughout the day, with a link and a blurb about the blog post. Takes about 20 minutes a day once you’re in the habit of doing it and makes your feed a consistently interesting source of information.

  16. Anita,
    Ok..Here goes;

    The right way to promote your business is to post a link to a recent Press Release OR blog post daily, mixed in with several links to some great resource articles, and blog posts. I also suggest that a portion of them have nothing to do with your type of business. Just link out to some great and interesting content. Add some value, folks!

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  17. I forgot one little thing in my comment. {It’s late}

    I said-”The right way to promote your business is to post a link to a recent Press Release OR blog post daily,”

    Make sure it is a Press Release or blog post about YOUR business and what you do.

    Stuff that you will mix in throughout the day is not your stuff, but content that you find that is high in quality.

    The Franchise King
    Joel Libava

  18. The right way to promote your business on Twitter is to reference them with high quality content about your business and actively communicate with other Twitter users too.

    Do not just focus on tweeting about your stuff alone, tweet about something else that is interesting, show some love and re-tweet others’ tweets as well and connect to people that are of the same interests as yours. If you’re selling a software for small businesses, then connect with other small business owners not with those tweeting about entertainment alone.

  19. Hi Anita, great idea!
    I’ve chosen “time management” question (but I’ve started on Tweeter not long ago): when I know I can plan my tweets by advance I use TweetLater.com. On my blog I use a widget that allows me to tweet when I submit a post. If available, I also use the bottom links allowing to tweet an article directly when I find it interesting. Otherwise I tweet “ad-hoc” only when I have something interesting to say. And I scan other tweets once a day.

  20. Stay with it and build a campaign. I have too many assc. that don’t get it right away and give up, criticize it, and don’t go back. Follow like minded tweeters, they will follow you back, add aps like tweetdeck, tweetgrid, tweetlater, and search others that work for you. Tweeters are suggesting workable aps everyday There has to be something you need help with, right? Ask it and with the responses so your network starts to grow!

  21. Time Management I have used ping.fm which Anita spoke about a little while ago, I use it to touch all my social media networks, and for very little effort I am seeing positive results.

    Advanced Strategies – I am enjoying watching the tweet deck during live presentations or performances, it is interesting to see others thoughts on the matter, yes she did start on the wrong key!

    Getting Started – alternate between something relevant to your business, and something irrelevant. I work in the accounting world, so I tweet comments on the budget, tax season, an opportunity that clients may like etc. I then will tweet about something positive, upbeat, but irrelevant to my business…my passionfruits have come into season and they are yummy…

  22. Hi there,

    The only best Tip I can think of is to keep it to business and do not mix business with pleasure. I’ve been following some of the top bloggers on Twitter only to find them talking about unrelated stuff.

    Cheers,
    Eddie Gear

  23. Getting Started

    Find and follow a community of people having conversations relevant to your interests; listen to conversations, join in on the conversations and add value to the conversations.

  24. Best tip for getting Retweeted is to leave enough characters for people to just RT as is.

    If people have to start editing your message to fit “RT @yourname + message” then they often don’t bother or miss out (what you thought was) an important part.

    View RTs as 120-ish character messages and really work on what you have to say and how to say it.

    Also if it contains a link make sure it’s clear what people will be clicking through to.

  25. Time management:

    If you do not have time to use Twitter (i do not), set up an automatic feed of items and send it to your Twitter account. Doing so populates your Twitter account with fresh content even when you do not have time.

    I notice that someone (guess who, hint hint!) set up a Twitter account for Bizsugar, it is all automated.

  26. When you first start try to listen before you just broadcast everything you do. Try to respond to other’s thoughts.

  27. Time Management —

    1. Don’t feel like you need to see/read every tweet. You don’t. If you want to find out what’s been going on with a particular topic while you were not paying attention, do a search of twitter using hashtags or phrases relevant to the topic to bring up recent related tweets.

    2. Use tools like TwitterGadget to integrate Twitter into your Gmail account, or TweetDeck to group the people you follow into categories.

    3. Unfollow people whose high percentage of tweets don’t provide any real value to you. They should inform, inspire ,evoke or at the least make you laugh or think. If you feel like you’re reading an advertisement or listening in on someone else’s conversations, unfollow.

  28. My best tip for small businesses getting started:
    Be visually stimulating!
    We have all seen that looooonnngggg URL on the back of someones car promoting their website but trying to figure out what http://www.seewhatmyconstructioncompanyis.com is hard on the eyes – same goes for your Twitter handle.
    Capitalize the first letter of your name/business.
    Example, I am @JenHarris09. I know “someone” that should be SmallBizTrends instead of smallbiztrends. It’s just easier on the eyes. :)
    Here is my blog about it! http://bit.ly/h01EK
    Thanks!
    Jen
    @jenharris09

  29. If you ask for a RT (retweet) leave at least 15 characters to let ppl that are RT’ing your message have space so they don’t have to shorten your message. Many times that’s the difference between a RT and no RT.

    VickyH @eeus

  30. To gain followers, run a Twitter contest. @Mozy does a great job at this, by not only picking a winner, but offering everyone else a discount on their product. So even if someone doesn’t win, they at least get something out of it. To enter the contest, users should have to RT a specific message, chosen by the company.

  31. Great topic Anita!

    I’ll tackle Smart Marketing: At Palo Alto Software, we generally use tweetdeck to monitor what people are saying about our products, our company, and topics that are core to our business. Since we focus mostly on business planning, what we don’t do is spam every person who tweets about writing a business plan. That just seems too intrusive. Instead, we only reach out to people that ask questions and do our best to provide good answers without simply promoting our products.

    Also, to keep useful content flowing through our twitter posts, we use twitterfeed.com to automatically tweet our latest blog posts.

    Final tip: for very advanced searching, Yahoo!’s Sideline is one of the best applications out there.

  32. Hi Anita,

    Getting Started:

    Identify keywords as well as the “experts” in your industry. Then, visit http://search.twitter.com and search on those terms. Once you identify the right people, look at who they’re following and who is following them as your potential pool of people you should follow. Lastly, if you follow people who offer valuable information, make sure you offer the same value in you tweets as well.

    Best of Luck,

    - John

  33. i could easily get sucked into twitter all day and not do any other work if i didn’t have a time management strategy. i recommend checking twitter first thing in the morning so you can respond to any questions or join in conversations. then i typically wait about two hours and then limit my time to only 10 minutes. i do searches on key words i care about and have some alerts already set up. i also look at my @ replies. i don’t usually look again until lunch time. and again, i limit my time to 10 minutes. i follow that about every two hours. i find that jumping into a conversation after two hours is too late, but within that time frame you can still be relevant. i also have twitter on my iphone and i tend to check it more when i’m out and about. however, when i’m working it can be a distraction if i don’t stick to the schedule.

  34. Use Twitter to ask for help, in small doses… I tweeted that I needed reviewers for my column and other writing, and snagged a couple of volunteers.

  35. I think it’s wise to focus on one or two of your followers a day. Spotlight something about them in a Tweet and send a little Twitter love their way. They’ll notice, their friends will notice . . . and so on. And someday, a little bit of the Twitter love will circle back to you. :-)

  36. Try minimizing your time on the actual Twitter site to about 30 minutes a day. The rest of the time, use a quick Twitter app like TwitterFox to post anything interesting you find throughout your day. It’s fast and easy and keeps you from getting sucked up in too much conversation.

  37. Chris Orenchuk

    I feel one of the best ways to market your business on twitter is to interact with your customers and the target demographic. Engage the piece of the pie who doesn’t typically use your service to find out where you are lacking in your services or promotion of your services.

  38. Time Management – To keep tweeting from overtaking your day, tweet with coffee in the morning, on your break time, and then briefly at lunch. Some people may find it helpful to set a timer to stick to the plan. Tweet at the end of your work day and again in the evening if you like. When you create your to do list for the following day, make a note of the valuable resources you will share the following day. Happy Tweeting!

  39. Twitter tips:
    - Be authentic and honest in your interactions
    - Share. Share links, funny/interesting messages and don’t be afraid to befriend competitors.
    - Commit. Don’t just Tweet and neglect it, focus and commit yourself to at least a half-hour a day to discovering and Tweeting.

    ~Joseph

  40. A few thoughts about adding value to your Twitter experience. First, to get started talk with others who are online using the service and see if you can figure out what works for them. Second, remember that you probably wouldn’t walk up to someone and immediately offer them a sales pitch. Give them value first (expert articles, background, tips on something you know about best). Third, to get retweeted, its all about value. That can be in the form of an exclusive Twitter offer, or a blog post or article that adds something new. Fourth, if Twitter starts taking up too much time, just try and tweet 3-5 times a day and monitor your replies and direct messages. Keep the conversation going and prove to people you are more than a brick & morter, but you’re also human! Finally, keep track of all of your different groups by using something like Tweetdeck to help aggregate your tweets and people you follow. Be sure to have an RSS feed or section dedicated to seeing what people are saying about you or your business.

    Happy Tweeting!

  41. @smallbiztrends Great idea Anita.

    Under the Getting Started:

    For the intimated (or not sure what to say when everyone (but you) seems to know what to do)

    A good way to start is “lurk & learn” using TweetDeck application. Available for download at http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/

    You can have up to 10 columns that you can personalize and track what you want to follow. Example of different things to track include:
    - key users that you want to follow
    - your company name (good to know the good or bad tweets about your company)
    - your competitor’s name
    - key search term or product term you want to track or be known by

    In fact the last idea (key search term or product term) is a great way to start to engage a conversation with someone a quick response with a helpful hint or suggestion and they figure out you may be of value. Nice way to start to engage and build a business relationship.

    Cheers, @gwickes

  42. Hi Anita,

    We’re just starting a new online mobile marketing application, Fanminder. Therefore, we’ve used Twitter to gain followers among important mobile marketing influencers, potential investors, and potential customers.

    Category: How to promote your business on Twitter

    My favorite tip is how to use Twitter to find new customers. I first use Google and type “Twitter for ______” and fill in the blank with a vertical who might use Twitter – for example, restaurants. I typically get a few articles that are round-up articles of all restaurants in a given city using Twitter. Then I follow these restaurants and engage in conversations with them – we’ve gotten one customer so far this way and I expect we can generate many or even most of our new customers in the next six months this way.

  43. In Regards to Etiquette…
    Don’t Go Blasting Your ‘Message’ to Everyone on Twitter – This is Both Annoying and Inconsiderate. Start by Listening to the ‘Conversations’ Going First – Once You Think You’ve Got a ‘Feel’ for What’s Going On, Then Try Engaging.

  44. This may be re-hashing what has already been said, but falls under the Etiquette category. For business use it seems most benefial for us to only follow those who have a business relationship (vendors, marketing tips, similar businesses, etc.). Building those relationships is great for customer service and bouncing ideas off your peers. Following people who do nothing but spam their own products or sites, or insist on telling us what they had for lunch that day, is simply a waste of time.

    Very nice to see so many great tips posted already!!

  45. Since my laptop just died, I’m SO in. :)

    My best Twitter Tip is one that is so simple that I think people either overlook it or dismiss it as not all that important.

    Give before you expect to receive.

    In fact, give MORE than you expect to receive.

    People always need to know WIIFM = “What’s in it for me?”. Answer that question as often as possible and followers will flock to you.

  46. Retweet and more:

    http://www.krumlr.com

    Use krumlr to leave a tweet and a krum at the same time. The tweet / krum can be promoted to the front page and retweeted by krumlr as well.

    Another tip … by using krumlr, it tracks specific tweet clicks. 9How many and when.)

    One more tip:
    Create a unique landing page for twitter specifically with a greeting, service, introduction. It offers a unique message to those via twitter and assists with tracking those who visit the “secret page only twitter’s know”.

    You can send the notebook to the address on my website under contact info. :)

    Mike

  47. Sometimes, less is more. As simple as it my sound, don’t forget to ask others to “follow” you. Add “Follow Me on Twitter” to your emails, web site, and other communications.

  48. If you’ve been observant on Twitter, you’ll work out who knows what they’re talking about quick enough. Take a few minutes to make introductions between people you are connected with who you think would benefit from knowing each other. Who knows, you might get the favor back one day.

  49. Thanks for organizing this Anita!

    a) On getting started:
    Choose a few keywords that represent subjects that most interest you, search for them on search.twitter.com, and find a few folks that are discussing said topics and observe those conversations, then contribute.

    b) On etiquette:
    When someone decides to follow you, focus as much as possible on relating to them authentically vs through automatic means i.e. avoid generating automatic DMs as a way to greet new followers. Sending automatic DMs is like slinging a business card at someone at an in-person networking event once they shake your hand. It’s abrupt and impersonal.

  50. I’ll take Observing Etiquette:

    Please do not use Twitter for one long commercial about your company. We don’t want to always hear about you, you, you: what you did, what your company is doing, what your company wants to do. Be interactive, ask questions and be the mensch. Otherwise–you’re unfollowed!

    @ksherrieco

  51. My best time management tip is to use http://journotwit.com/ as it splits up incoming tweets into seven categories and I can even preview twitpics in it. A mobile version is also available at http://jtwit.com/ which works on a range of mobile devices such as the iPhone and Nokia S60 devices. It’s all web based, no need to download a new client.

  52. Great topic Anita! Our #1 tip for smart marketing on Twitter is to start by NOT talking about yourself all the time. Spread some love. Retweet others and talk about yourself a *little*. I wrote a post about this around “what kind of guest do you want to be at the Twitter party.” http://bit.ly/h06f7

    Enjoy, Kira & the @intuit Twitter team

  53. Here’s a smart marketing tip: Like all marketing tactics, be sure you think about your strategy before jumping in the deep end of the Twitter pond. Twitter can become a black hole if it does not advance your marketing strategy, which is why I think so many people drop off of Twitter after a short time, according to studies. Who is your audience? What do you want them to do? How will your twitter content help them solve a problem or meet a need? Once you have a plan, develop content thoughtfully, not just in high volume. Whatever your strategy is, don’t be boring!

  54. Be as interesting as possible and always mean what you say in Twitter!

  55. Submit articles with great content, unique and quality.
    Always add lots of friends, tell them about your site. Create a community on your website. Send a community request for join. etc…

  56. I make it one of my regular bookmarks on my tool bar so I remember to click it on daily. It is a part of my business protocol in the morning as is reading and answering emails.

  57. Advanced Strategies: What is your best kept secret for using Twitter in business? It’s not a secret, just a good idea.

    Set up a bunch of (free) listening services to make sure you capture what may be interesting to you and your brand. I use multiple tools – just in case one is down, or misses something.

    For example: I use Tweetbeep, Twillert, Techrigy SM2 alerts, and BackTweets

    Every morning I get an email from Tweetbeep, Twilert, and SM2 that tells me who mentioned keywords that I have associated with my brand. I check for my name, my twitter handle, and a variety of words that people use when talking about the things my customers are interested in. (You should including words that refer to your competitors too). Then I use BackTweets to see who has tweeted my URL. Sometimes people will forward a link from my blog without mentioning my name. BackTweet can find those for me.

    This way – I find out who is talking about my, by brand, or my product space. I check out what they have said previously in their stream (sometimes they are just a retweet robot, or their mention of my product was a false positive, typo, etc.) If they are someone of interest, I start to follow them – depending on their conversations, I’ll reach out and say hi. If they are really interested in my product – then I have expanded my community by reaching out.

    The trick – use more than twitter and tweetdeck, use the tools that give you daily emails. Allocate 15 min each day to reviewing the emails and taking action on them. Within a few weeks, your brand will be following many people who talk about your topics. As a small business twitter stream, you want to do a lot of listening, since you probably don’t have a high value brand name. You don’t have to react to every topical tweet with a response – but if you are going to leverage Twitter, make sure that you find out when new people join who you should follow by watching your alert emails.

  58. One Getting Started Tip:
    Use Twellow.com to find folks in your industry or your region. It’s like yellow pages for Twitter.

  59. Don’t only tweet about what’s new on your site. It’s important to interact with the community of followers that you should become a part of. Create relationships. Business is personal.

  60. @Rena
    Business is personal. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said this before, but we’re moving back in time, in some ways, to the village, to the small town. To the point in time when it was possible to know all your customers by name.

    Kevin Kelly wrote an inspiring post not long ago called 1,000 True Fans. It reflects your comment, Business is personal.
    TJ

    http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php

  61. If you are not a writer (like me) then getting recognized in the social networking space can be difficult.

    I don’t blog, it takes me hours to write a couple paragraphs that a good blogger can write in minutes.

    I don’t post much because I’m still new to this and the time it takes to navigate, read, and process all the information in all these networking sites is already overwhelming.

    So what does someone like me do to get started? It’s all about Time Management and Etiquette. If you can master those two, then the rest will come slowly and naturally.

    Time Management – write your goals for the day, week, month down on paper. Set the time slots you wish to spend doing your online networking at stick with those times. Pick 2 to 3 slots a day so you can review and adjust any of your content. This is like a workout! If you under, or over do it, you will get poor results. Set times that work best for your personality and available schedule. As part of your goals, set plans to expand your knowledge, or present valuable information to your viewers.

    Etiquette – Content is King! Make sure what you are presenting helps your viewers. Make sure it is clean and easy to read. Make sure it isn’t already being done by someone else! Be unique and helpful, and provide something that you yourself would share with others and say, “This is a great site, lots of valuable links that I check regularly, posts that teach me something new every day, and there’s even some great entertainment value out of it!

  62. This is great – having just launched a business this week and just started twittering in the last 2 days some great tips. Was struggling with the balance of stuff that might be useful connected with our offer and personal comments. At the end of the day who cares if I am off to watch something on tv (as I posted last night) but how do I promote our business without just the hard sell that wouldn’t be appropriate on twitter? Thanks again.

  63. Hi Anita,

    Great post for sharing value (aka, one way to do Smart Marketing).

    The smart way to market on Twitter: Don’t. Instead, provide value to others. People do business with people they know, like, and respect, and Twitter is a terrific tool for building these relationships.

    Thanks for creating this space for us to share best practices.

    Best,
    Daria

  64. Smart Marketing: What’s the right way (or wrong way) to promote your business on Twitter?

    As with any business, the value proposition and benefits are what matter most to the target audience. To establish a credible presence and following, build a reputation as the expert in the industry which your business is involved in. Shameless promotion might get an occasional prospect to check you out, but establishing your expertise and knowledge among the various audiences (prospects, customers, media, partners and others) will drive more interest on Twitter, in other social media environments and in the real world. If done effectively, you can see tremendous growth possibilities. If you have a blog or write articles for publications, be sure to share them when appropriate. Remember – whether online or off, successful businesses flourish by creating relationships and having people’s trust … a good product, service or offering contributes a bit too!!

    Also – if you have a website (as any business today should), make an area to highlight your Twitter feed updates. This will also encourage people that you already associate with to join and follow you, thereby adding to your ecosystem of champions and evangelists!

    Thanks for all of the great efforts and initiatives devoted to helping the small business community Anita!

  65. if you open a new account for a new project or something and your new name at the end of all twittes of your main account

  66. For small business owners who primarily sell at local markets, use Twitter to let your interested customers know where you’re setting up your booth on any given day (i.e. Farmer’s Market at the Embarcadero Center, SF).
    I met a shirt vendor, informed me doesn’t have a store but at the same time is not broadcasting his location on any given day. Thats lost sales for those of us consumers that make spontaneous purchases.

  67. Probably one of the simpler tips is to ensure Twitter is linked up with Facebook. I have successfully driven relevant traffic to my blog and found new opportunities through this basic tip.

  68. Observing Etiquette: Tweet about things other than your business & products. If you are constantly tweeting about your business or products you will be viewed as a SPAMMER and no one likes spammers. Instead become a resource in your field, share useful information, converse with or comment on others posts, network with businesses that line up with yours. If you build relationships you will gain a lot from using Twitter.

  69. Advanced Strategies: Business owners and their representatives should think of Twitter as attending a local networking event. When you attend local networking events, to be effective, you build relationships, have one on one’s to hear more about their business and vice versa and then, if interested, purchase their product or service and/or help connect them with their synergy partners. Use the same concept with Twitter:

    *Learn by reading tweets and profiles
    *Build relationships
    *Interact and engage to find out more about followers
    *Help connect others with their target market or synergy partners

    Also, just like local networking, it takes time so don’t use Twitter thinking that one Tweet is going to make you rich…it won’t! It’s all about building relationships and networking! Happy Tweeting!

  70. John Schneeberg

    Observing Etiquette: What is your #1 Twitter etiquette tip for small business owners?

    Suggest letting your personality, concern for your customers and passion for you business to come through almost as if you were talking with a customer in your physical store.

  71. My tip would probably fall under the Advanced Strategies category, but truthfully, it should be one of the first things a small business does when they create a Twitter profile — brand your profile page. It doesn’t take long, it’s not hard to do (there are even websites that can help you do it for free, or designers who will help you for a fee), and it makes a big difference in terms of developing your business image, positioning your business, and providing additional URLs and details you can’t fit in the standard Twitter profile fields.

    This article provides more info: http://bit.ly/Ou0SO

  72. My suggestion for getting started would be to find twitters’ in different fields to follow.

    Everyone wants to talk to others in their field, but part of the beauty of twitter is meeting new people. It’s like a mixer, you don’t want to spend the whole night talking to the people you always talk with.

    Meet someone new. Network! grin.

  73. My advce is to always be possitive. The quickest way to get me to not listen to you is to always complain or be negitive.

  74. Best way to get ReTweeted is to post valuable content for others, such as a link to online resources or a useful blog post. But, don’t ask for the RT, people will do it on ther own.

  75. Get retweeted by posting a pic URL in the tweet, and be provocative.

  76. One of the best things you can do is participate in Follow Friday. Many people make the mistake of just listing people, but if you just take the time out to stay why you would like other to follow a specific person – it does wonders! It really helps to build that relationship and shows that you actually know a thing or two about your followers.

  77. I use an RSS feed of my tweets on our home page, that pulls some people into Twitter as followers and subscribers. I have a link to our Twitter site, I use it in our enewsletters.

    My best time saving tip is to use Hootsuite and its applet Hootlet which lets you Tweet from any page on the web when you find something you want to share with your followers. Hootsuite then let’s you track the clicks on the various links you have posted. Over time you can see which topics are most popular amongst your followers and then feed them more.

    In other words, credibly serve your audience.

  78. Best piece of twitter advice. Turn off “salesy” auto reply message, they are not personal and a little annoying.

  79. Follow the leaders in your field! Take time each day (or as often as possible) to stay up-to-date on what is new or up and coming in your industry. Take time for professional development using links tweeted by National Leaders if your line of work!

  80. A great online Twitter management tool I’m loving (advanced tip) is called http://www.hootsuite.com. It allows small businesses to track tweets and actually get metrics on their links posted through the application. This is one of the first tools I’ve found which allows measurable ROI on Twitter. The lack of measurable metrics in social media is something that needs to be addressed. Most marketing directors and agencies are struggling to talk companies into using social media because board members and upper management demands to see measurable results out of this activity. Hootsuite is a step in the right direction and also allows people to manage multiple Twitter profiles through a single interface.

  81. I find “Trending Topics” on the right side of the screen VERY useful. Every time I’m logged in, I look for the latest trend on and around the web. This allowed me to get on the Operah / KFC deal a couple of weeks ago.

  82. Best getting started twitter tip create a business account and personal account. By not mixing the two you raise the quality of your business tweets and lower the noise level for your followers, making your message easier to hear.

  83. Smart Marketing: The wrong way to promote your business on Twitter is by having the owner or whoever tweet a lot of boring info about their day. Followers of businesses want useful info or links not knowing that you had a hot dog for lunch.

  84. I help out the PR person at work by collecting some visitor comments for our museum, and Tweetbeep is my God. :-) In my inbox, anything that mentions our museum, every day. I can’t complain!

  85. Sometimes I hear of new technology advances and I scratch my head. I did that a few years ago when I first heard of Twitter. But about three months ago, I bit the bullet and started @mariamarsala Then a week later, 9 people were following me. I was amazed. Today more than 500 individuals, I’m thinking, based on the content, that they’re business owners are following me.

    So today, after 2 1/2 months Twittering or Tweeting (the jury is still out on the wording) I provide you with the tips and tactics I’m using, so that you too can meet me on Twitter!

    1. Keep every tweet you post in your a MS Word doc to reuse.
    2. Give yourself a break and schedule your tweets using http://www.hootsuite.com
    3. Retweet the same message during the day because you don’t know when someone will be reading.
    4. Put PLS RT (please retweet) at the end of appropriate messages so that your tweets get re-tweeted. It’s that old fashioned “call to action” stuff that helps spread your marketing efforts.
    5. Put a link to your twitter account in your email signature line for those tweeters you email.
    6. Add your twitter (and other social networking account) information to your website’s “contact us” page.
    7. Open an account on http://www.SnipUrl.com to snip those long urls and monitor who clicks on which tweets.

    @mariamarsala

  86. I have found one of the best ways to engage is to ask questions. Ask questions about people and earn their trust by showing genuine interest. Once you have a rapport, you can then ask them what you need to learn – questions about your product or site, questions on how to attract a quality person *like them* and gain valuable feedback.
    @StoryOfMyLife

  87. Thursday night, 4 June 2009 I will be doing a conference call or podcast since it is recorded on integrating social marketing into the traditional business & internet marketing methods.

    I market a small niche, the wildlife control industry and will be discussing how building a local market online can enhance their business’s bottom line.

    Basically teaching the industry to have a web site, blog,twitter and facebook account with a digital camera while doing our inspections and putting it all together.

    The emphasis is on growing the local online audience and you are welcome to join in should you have an interest. All you need is a phone line to participate and we use Talkshoe.com for the podcasts we have 138 of them behind us inn the last 14 months.

    The show will be able to be downloaded for listening at http://talkshoe.com/tc/16456/

    Email for details if you are interested.

    Robb Russell
    The Wildlife Pro Network
    1-386-454-7474

  88. I love Dave Fecker’s input on time management with all of the networking sites out there! Thank you for posting, great thread.

  89. To manage time efficiently I use a 2 minute rule to tweet, share, comment and link to anything that is relevant to my niche. Before moving to the next task.

  90. Great post Anita, I liked the way you have interacted with users for their tips and tricks for twitter.

    My twitter tip – If u tweet something that u hope others will RT, make sure u leave enough characters for that. It’s super helpful!

    See our website @ http://tweeterland.com. It’s dedicated to everything twitter and aims to give twitters users the information they need to use and make the most of twitter.

    Keep up the great posts.

    Tweeterland
    http://tweeterland.com

  91. Sorry Anita, please delete my first post! :) Sorry to send two through. Thanks!

    Melynda @ tweeterland.com

  92. For business owners looking to jump on the Twitter bandwagon, “Stop trying to understand it, and just do it.” You’ll never perfect working within this particular marketing channel because the reach is too phenomenal. Do what you do, and tell the world about it. Make sure you have something awesome to say, and go for it!

  93. Great article. I am an intern at http://FiredUpNetwork.com, a resource and network for people seeking professional change, and we have been trying to use Twitter to help market our site. Thank you everyone for the tips!

  94. With these great twitter tips I should be able to improve my business.

  95. Thanks for the twitter tips. I read most of the comments and people are helping me out a lot. I think the most important thing on Twitter is your screen name. It has to be precise and give info about what you tweet about.

  96. I like to put my clients on notice so that if they tweet, Ill get a notice in my email and I can join their conversation!

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